Every season I get a couple of fixtures that, on paper, look relatively straight forward. Top of the league (or close to it) versus bottom of the league.
When you think about refereeing these fixtures you can be forgiven for expecting the expected – a whitewash – yet instead I have often been a part of the unexpected – the team that are less under-dogs and more like under-pups – biting the ankles of the league leaders and winning.
Two years ago I travelled to the Midlands on a cast-iron grey day, to take charge of a home team who hadn’t won a game in two years, against an opposition who had hardly lost a fixture in that time. An almighty battle ensued that resulted in a first home win in months, a bemused opposition coach, and a request for adoption papers for the ref!
This season I again took charge of a Top v Bottom clash and as I listened into the away team pep talk (which was arrogance personofied and showed no respect for the oppostion) I thought that the game could likely go off the rails for the travelling club! Which it did!
They picked and pecked at me post match. They were determined that their arrogance and terrible passing, tackling and kicking was somehow the responsibility of the ref!
And so to the two next fixtures….Top v Bottom multiplied! One this week in the wonderful North West and the next in the stunning North East (and a Level 5 assessment game for me to boot!). No such thing as an easy game.
So Cry havoc and let slip the dogs of war – and beware of your ankles!